Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie
Developer: Phobia Game Studio
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release Date: 2020
Edited by Thorstag
I had heard about Carrion through a friend earlier this year, and it looked like a cool concept: be the monster eating humans and growing to take over. Recently it was again brought to my attention in the form of a Steam Demo. Currently, there is no story to go on other than what is on the steam page, but the game-play is where the meat and tentacles are. The game supports a controller fully and also a mouse and keyboard. There are no key binding options in the demo.
You are greeted with a menu screen with a mass of tentacles and teeth pulsating with eerie glee while a menacing soundtrack and heartbeat can be heard in the background. Once inside the demo, you see the monster you are, which does look like a mass of tentacles and maybe some eyes. I proceeded to move around the environment, and the sound was actually quite creepy. Its movement, combined with the unnerving squishing sound, creates a horror feel even if you control the creature. As said, the movement is very fluid and responsive as you guide your monster through various shafts and corridors, animations writhing in retro style glee.
Obstructions in your path can be manipulated with your tentacles turning the now trashed obstacles into blunt weapons used to dispatch the humans that appear shortly after some exploring. Crush your enemies or use them to crush more enemies, body parts flying around. If you were looking for gore, this is where it’s at. Oh but that’s not all, should you sustain damage, you will shrink a bit. To return to your original menacing mass, you can take the bodies of the humans you have slain and consume them, refilling your health bars. It may just be me, but it feels good to be the bad guy once in a while.
Of course, the game can’t be THAT easy. I quickly found some barriers that I could not cross, coupled with laser turrets and strange floating robots that I had a hard time dealing with. The humans had even upgraded to flame throwers and some weird shields. This is where you need to learn some tricks with the environment and physics. One example is, taking broken barriers and chucking them at the humans from behind or smashing the robots. Later on, I discovered some radioactive tanks and was prompted to break them open. UPGRADES!
I could now have a secondary attack which seemed to turn my tentacles into spikes, or possibly teeth from my many mouthed form. You can find more tanks littering the various environments as you progress, which can give you even more abilities, like a dash that allows you to break the barriers you could not pass earlier. I also found cracks in the walls that seemed to let me infect the environment and becoming a save point. It seems there is a specific number of these points per level and, once found, will open up another part of the game. Of course, being a demo, it ends once you find all of them and try to proceed further.
There are enough mechanics and ideas in this demo to make me want to keep playing. The idea of being the monster is a wonderful escapist experience that most gamers crave, and I will be planning on purchasing the full version when it becomes available.
- Cool retro pixel graphics
- Creepy sound design
- YOU are the monster!
- Controls can take some getting used to
- It’s only a demo
Mister Boo gives Carrion (Demo) a Drastik Measure of 9.5 out of 10 (95)
Carrion is currently listed on Steam, but sadly the demo has ended. The release date is for an undetermined time in 2020. The game is simple yet can be challenging, and I did not encounter any bugs in the demo. I personally cannot wait for this title. If you are into the retro Metroidvania scene, then this is a game not to be missed. Don’t forget to add it to your wishlist.